Monday, June 24, 2013

Goodbye, Maine

Tonight I sit at Claire and Ken's computer.  Our entire lives have been packed in to a 26' UHaul truck, which Matt is driving down to Cranston.  He should be getting there any moment.  When he gets there and unlocks the door, he'll be seeing our new home for the first time.

Kids love moonbounces!
Two weekends ago we threw ourselves a goodbye party.  We thought of it as a 'thank you' party, for all our friends who have seen us through the past five years.  I'm not going to lie: we also just wanted another excuse to rent a moonbounce.  We had a morning party and an afternoon party and my friend Cheri took some beautiful pictures of the morning party.  I was so happy with how both parties went.  I had a fabulous time at the morning party, hanging with all my mom friends from both mom's groups that I was a part of, as well as watching Adelin have fun with some of her school friends that came.
I was moved more than a few times during the party, looking around at the community we built for ourselves in Maine, and all the people who had become so crucial to our lives.  I gave a speech during the party saying as much.  I still am blown away by all the meals we received when Donovan was first born.  I still can't get over how my friends have come through for me time and time again - most recently, with Mary and Lindsay stepping in to babysit so that we could all go to Matt's residency graduation dinner.  My friend Erin said it once: we would not be friends if not for our children, so how lucky it is that we did have children at the same time!  Because I love my mom friends. What a sassy, fun, caring, and generous group of women I have met here.
Erin and Liam choose tattoos
We had bagels and snacks during the morning party, and the afternoon party was a barbecue for the Maine Medical Center people and their kids.  The moonbounce got a huge workout that day, and the whole day was so much fun.  The best part for me was being able to say goodbye to the kids.  Many of these babies are now four years old, and I've known them their entire lives.  They are funny, interesting, fantastic people, who I am going to miss playing with.
It was hard for Ady to say goodbye

Donny dressed for the occasion
Babies having fun

Last Wednesday, some of my mom friends took me out for a farewell mom's night out.  We had a blast, just talking and drinking and gossiping and venting... just a great mom's night out, which have become so precious to me and something I always have looked forward to. The ladies were so cute, and got together on a farewell gift for me, a little Sea Bag filled with some Maine treats, as well as a photo album that my friend Amy put together, filled with pictures from the last five years of all the kids in our group of friends from the past five years.  It was a little emotional for me, and I know I will treasure that book.  Looking pictures of Adelin as a baby with some of her friends when they were babies, it really hit me how special this time has been.  

But now it's time to say good-bye.  I started this blog as a way to keep in communication with everyone in my family, and my friends back in NYC, and scattered around the world, as I went through this adventure in Maine.  I knew when we left New York that we were coming to Maine to start a family, and a huge new phase in our lives.  I had no idea.  Both my babies were born here, took their first steps here, spoke their first words and all the rest breathing this beautiful Maine air.  Maine is in my children's blood.  I imagine that they will always feel most at home smelling the sea air and traipsing through the pine forest.  The way the sunlight hits the trees here, the chill in the air when the snow is coming, the way the leaves fall in October.  My earliest memories are of Florida, it's humidity and thunderstorms, its highways and beaches.  They will remember Maine that way.  It makes me glad, but it makes my heart hurt, because I miss it for them, and I long for it, for them.

My adventures in Maine have been nothing short of amazing.  I will miss Maine, I will miss my friends.  I will miss the work I did here, and all my favorite places, from bars to beaches.  I will miss Ken and Claire, and having family so close by that I could count on, and share our joys with.  I say goodbye, but  know this:  We'll be back.  One way or another, we will come back to this place, and it will feel like coming home again every time.

Goodbye, Maine.  Thank you for everything, especially my babies.  Thank you for teaching me what home feels like.  I'll be back soon, so keep a light on.

Friday, June 21, 2013

5th and Final Annual MinME's

Our first day in Maine was June 15, 2008 - we have now lived in Maine for five years.  Four years ago I started the annual tradition of the Mara In Maine Awards (MInME's), awards given to places and things that I think deserve special distinction, based on my "inexpert and un-researched opinion." This will be the MinMe's last award ceremony, since of course, we are moving to Rhode Island in two days.

In that light, for each category, I'll also be deciding the 'best of the best,' and giving special recognition to those nominees that I feel stand out not only for the past year, but for all five years that I've lived in Maine.

And so, ladies and gentleman, I bring you, the Mara In Maine Awards! (Cacophonous applause.)
Best Restaurant 
This year, the winner is easily Eden Restaurant.  That place and that meal blew my mind.  Upscale vegetarian cuisine is a particular treat for me, and finding a place like that, in Bar Harbor, was something special.  It is almost so special that I am tempted to give Eden Restaurant the prize for being the best restaurant in Maine, but really that award goes to 555.  As far as all the meals I've had out in Maine, even though Eden Restaurant was singular and wonderful, 555 would still be the first place I'd recommend to visitors.

Best Bar
For a mom friend's birthday this year we went out to Kon's Asian Bistro, which is a somewhat ridiculous hibachi style grill place in Portland.  We shut the place down with our antics both at the grill/table and in the bar.  We had a fantastic time, and the staff was so lovely and accommodating, it deserves the award this year.

The overall prize goes to Novare Res, of course.  Once again, when I think about the bar I want to go to when I visit Maine, that's the first place that comes to mind.

Best Park
We discovered York Wild Animal Kingdom last summer and the kids recently returned there with Claire and Ken -- that place is awesome.  Adelin has kept the map and has been going over it with me, pointing out all the stuff she saw and liked.  The facility is beautiful, the animal variety is really surprising, and it's very easy to get to, though at an hour drive a little outside the every day.

For the best park of the past five years, I'd have to recognize Ft. Williams.  That place just screams Maine to me, and once again, to anyone visiting the state, I would say "make sure you go and see the lighthouse at Ft. Wiliams."

Best Ice Cream
Super Scoops in Falmouth gets the prize this year for being our go-to place for family treats.  Right next to Waldo's gas station on Route 1, and locally owned, we've had a great time meeting up with our friends Mary and DJ there with their kids, or just going there ourselves.  They have 'baby cones' for the kids, which Adelin and Donovan LOVE LOVE LOVE.  Just a super nice place owned by really great people.

The best ice cream in Maine, however, is Mt Desert Ice Cream.  That place rivals Boston in it's creamy texture, fun flavors, and just plain old craveabliity. 

Best Beach
Ferry Beach gets the award for best beach once again and really, let's face it, the prize for the past five years as well.  I love Ferry Beach.  People usually argue with me when I say it, but I really think it's one of the nicest beaches I've ever been to.  It's so easy to park and get out to the beach, I love walking across the shallow part to look at the clams and crabs on the other side, and the sand is really nice.  There are no waves to scare my wiener kids and if you get there early enough you can grab parking in the shade, by the showers, making clean-up and departure that much easier.  I just love it.

That's it.  The final Mara in Maine Awards.  Congratulations to all the winners!!!

Last year the awards were a little late due to the match and other exciting goings on, and one year later we have had even more shenanigans, between Matt's graduation, his board results, and all the preparations for the move. Sitting in my living room, I'm once again surrounded by boxes, looking at the half bare walls and trying to plot the next thing to pack up.  The kids are over at Claire and Ken's, to stay out of the way while we pack and also enjoy some more quality time with their grandparents before that becomes more difficult.  It's a beautiful day out today, a perfect Maine summer day, and the first day of summer as well.  The smell in the air and the quality of light this time of year always feels hopeful and exciting, as the summer seems to stretch before me with all its pleasure and possibilities.

In two days we move.  It sits inside me like a pallet of bricks, but it also buoys me up with anticipation and longing.  I want to move, I want to fast forward to the next step in our lives and figure out where we are going to settle and start everything that comes after.  But I also dread the change, I fear the loneliness and strangeness of the unfamiliar.  This is a hugely stressful time for our family and for me, but it is also quite incredible.  And as I am living through it, I am realizing as I always do, that there's no group of people I would rather be living through this with than them. 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day

We have a lot to celebrate right now, and it's all because of this
amazing Daddy right here.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My FIrst Race

Saturday the 1st I ran my first (and most likely, last) race.  It was a fundraiser at Adelin's school for scholarships, and a 5K.  It was about 5,000 degrees out and I finished like 33rd, but at least I beat most of the old men and most of the people with strollers.  And all the walkers.  Anyway, I was pretty pleased that I ran it in 27:57, which is a definite personal best for me.  I usually run about a 10 minute mile.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Peak's Island

Last week my bff Ashley came for a visit for a few days and we had so much fun hanging out, playing with the kids, and eating amazing vegan meals together.  My favorite part about her visit, besides just hanging with her after not seeing her for months and months, was going out to Peak's Island.
Believe it or not, after five years of living in Maine I have never been there.  There have been plenty of plans to go that have either been dashed by weather, or laziness, or the inability to figure it out around the kids' nap schedules.  But this was the perfect opportunity to go, since Ashley obviously hasn't been out there either, we could both experience it for the first time together.
The majority of the pictures we took were on the boat, since let's face it, walking around on the island there wasn't too much to take pictures of.  Also I think it was early in the season or something because all the restaurants and shops were closed, except for the one at the Inn.
Anyway, it was a beautiful afternoon and a very relaxing boat ride, and Peak's Island is everything that you would expect it to be, as the largest residential island near Portland.  It has New England culture times a thousand, and is connected to Portland but still feels remote and separate.  It inspired both of us to think and talk about what it would be like to live there, grow up there, or even just vacation there, and to dream a little bit about that, which is sometimes almost as good as doing it.  Like some kind of long format version of a visualization exercise, 'go to your happy place.'
Peak's Island feels like a happy place, where people bike around and drive golf carts instead of their cars, and wave to each other as they pass.  Where little kids ride their bikes by themselves around the island, without fear of strangers or getting lost, and where the ocean is always visible, and always audible, with the occasional low of the ferry boat horn keeping track of the time.